Outrage over phone masts

A FURIOUS Belper man has vowed to carry on the fight to stop controversial mobile phone masts being installed in the town – even though they have planning permission to go ahead.

It comes as a third plan has been submitted to install a mast in the town.

Mike Handley is leading the campaign against the masts. He is so incensed by plans to erect masts at two locations in the town that he has set up a website opposing their installation — www.stopthephonemastbelper.co.uk.

Plans for the 3G masts were given the green light at a heated planning meeting at Amber Valley Borough Council’s headquarters in Ripley last week.

But many residents and councillors from Belper said they felt the meeting was a ‘waste of time’ because the plans were almost certain to go ahead despite their objections.

Under the Town and Country Planning Act, the masts, which are to go on the junction of Marsh Lane and Laund Nook and on Park Road, just needed to be under 15 metres high and less than 90 cubic metres in volume to get permission.

The meeting heard that the masts, due to be put up by Vodafone and O2, would be 13.8 metres high and considerably less in volume.

And now, to seemingly rub salt in the wound, a third mast is planned for near the Morrisons roundabout on Derby Road, Belper, on the corner where New Road joins the roundabout.

Mr Handley, of Pilsley Close, has two children at St John’s Primary School, which is 125 metres from the proposed site of the mast on Marsh Lane.

He said: “I only found out about the masts last Friday. It seems a case of once the horse has bolted.

“We the residents are the council tax-payers. We don’t want it. What gives them the right to dictate to us?

“We have got to do something about it. I am not against technology because I use it. But it is putting these things in the right place, and that is not the right place within the area of the school and the children’s play area.

“The health risks from masts has not been disproved. This 3G is new technology and we do not know what implications there could be from it.

“I will pursue it as far as I can physically take it.

“We need to get onto our local MP and ask her to go to government and ask for a reform of planning applications.

“How can this just be railroaded through like this?”

The meeting at Ripley Town Hall saw various councillors vehemently oppose the plans, including those on the planning board.

Cllr Alan Cox claimed the phone companies had not even carried a proper consultation with the people of Belper and had sent mock-up photos of the mast in position that were not even taken in Belper.

“They have not followed protocol,” said Cllr Cox. “We should send the plans back to them and tell them to do a proper consultation. They are taking us for monkeys.”

But Belper resident Jon Smith, who lives nearby, said: “I am not one of these people that believes there are these death rays coming from these masts that will fry people’s brains.”

He continued: “From a selfish point of view I will get a better mobile phone reception. Everyone wants to use a mobile phone, but no-one wants a mast in their own backyard.”

He added that he did however understand the concerns raised over children possibly climbing on the mast.